Chat with Garry Paskwietz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, WeAreSC blogger Garry Paskwietz stops by to chat some USC football.
Paskwietz is the Publisher of WeAreSC and has been covering the Trojans since 1997. Paskwietz is also a co-host of the USC Football radio pre-game show
Send your questions now and join Paskwietz every Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET!
Garry Paskwietz (5:00 PM)
Welcome. Let's get started.
Any word or rumors on coaches leaving USC or OL, LB, RB and DB Coaches being hired ? Thanks Garry
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
There continue to be rumors about the possibility of coach Orgeron leaving but there aren't any signs that they are legit at this point. The big rumor on the OC position seems to be Jeff Tedford although there is also a recent rumor which said he is not a candidate. This falls with the pattern of Lane Kiffin coaching searches in that not a lot of information gets out during the process.
Hi Garry. Do you think that further coaching changes will continue to fragment the team? It seems like the locker room ended on a sour note, and the coaching changes are making things seem even more fragile.
Garry Paskwietz (5:05 PM)
The reaction from the players on Twitter to the Polamalu news was clear, it came as a surprise to them and they did not take it as good news. It's hard to say how it will impact the team because I think it's safe to say that getting this team back together was already a key point for Kiffin starting in spring ball. A big key for Kiffin will be the hires he makes for the open spots and how those coaches connect with the players.
Disappointed Trojan Fan (Los Angeles)
Hi Garry, since Coach P was fired (or resigned, not sure which side is true), does it mean that Lane Kiffin will give the play calling duties to the next OC at USC? Any word on the LB coach?
Garry Paskwietz (5:09 PM)
Polamalu was released from the staff, he did not resign. It would certainly seem to indicate that the OC role could be given to another coach, it is known that Kiffin talked to Stanford OL coach Mike Bloomberg about the possibility of coming to SC as an OC/OL coach but Bloomberg was promoted to OC at Stanford shortly after that. There is also speculation on Tedford in an OC role. Chances are that both of those conversations would involve those coaches having play calling duties. No confirmed word on LB coach, there was known to be interest in Vernon Hargreaves at one point and also speculation about Pendergast bringing one of his former staff assistants from Cal.
Hi Garry, should Lane Kiffin use the remaining 5 scholarships on:1) hiring Juco Transfers to increase depth (ex. CB, DL) for 2013 season.2) giving them to the USC walk-ons (ex. Abe Markowitz)3) save them for next season (2014)Your thought?
Garry Paskwietz (5:12 PM)
If there is a JC player out there who can provide good depth then I think the coaches would take a serious look at that. Kiffin also did mention that walk-ons could be given the available scholarships for the 2013 season. There hasn't been any ruling yet from the NCAA on a sixth year for Markowitz so it's hard to know if there is a possibility for him to return to the roster, you have to imagine there is a way for that to happen.
dennis ford (watts)
what in gods green earth is going on with usc fotball?what options do we have for a running back coach and why arent we bringing joe barry back for our linebacking spot.Is Lame trippin cutting ties with everybody who has the balls to oppose his technique of tissue football...
Garry Paskwietz (5:13 PM)
There are a lot of people who share your opinion right now. There haven't been any names mentioned for RB coach other than Clay Helton, if the scenario came up where a coach like Jeff Tedford came in as OC/QB coach. Helton has RB coaching experience on his resume.
jerry childress (watts)
Will ryan henderson see the field this year due to the lack of depth at corner,is he slated above the walk on dillard and devian shelton?
Garry Paskwietz (5:15 PM)
This is a potential key year for Ryan. So far he hasn't made much of an impact, the athleticism is shown from time to time but not yet on a consistent basis. As you mention, there will be opportunity for him to earn some real playing time and I definitely think he goes into spring on the depth chart ahead of both Dillard and Shelton.
michelle williams (csun)
come spring game 2013.(my 1st one) who do you think will get the starting qb spot.i hope its kessler.
Garry Paskwietz (5:16 PM)
Enjoy the spring game. I'll say this, I wouldn't bet against Cody earning the job, he's definitely got a shot. My guess is the starter doesn't get named until the fall because this competition could end up being real close.
sarah cash (smc)
do you think steven mitchell will see the field as a freshman,and why did every recruit we lost except ramsey and hatcher, committ to play against usc every year?prevot,fitts,massington,redfield,vanderdoes,kelly,
Garry Paskwietz (5:18 PM)
Yes, I do think Steven Mitchell has the ability to see the field as a freshman. The main obstacle will be some pretty good receivers ahead of him but Steven has the mental and physical skills to come in and handle the workload right away. As far as recruiting, it shows that USC's rivals on the field are also the rivals on the recruiting trail. Those schools all have some pretty good recruiting coaches too.
amanda merritt (red challenger)
Is Gerald Bowman ever gonna live up to hype?how do they expect these kids to develop if the systems in which they are taught change year after year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:20 PM)
The opportunity will be there for Bowman this year, that's for sure. Both safety spots are open with no clear cut starters heading into spring. He got some decent playing time last year on special teams but there wasn't the overall impact many were predicting from one of the top junior college players in the country. We'll see what happens this year.
Alex (Bismarck ND)
I still have not heard a legitimate reason for letting Coach P go. Have you heard anything. If it was simply to bring a true OC, then why not keep him on as a running back coach and ace recruiter.
Garry Paskwietz (5:23 PM)
I think it was just differences in coaching that led to a parting of the ways between Kiffin and Polamalu. Kiffin is the head coach and he feels this move is the best way to move the program forward in a positive manner, we just don't know yet if that involves bringing in an outside offensive coordinator or not. Until we know how the staff shakes out, there will continue to be a lot of questions about the move.
MJ (Davis, CA)
Who do you believe has a good chance to start at CB next year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:25 PM)
I think Kevon Seymour has to be considered a favorite for one spot. He's got a ton of potential. After that I would say Anthony Brown has a real shot, then maybe Torin Harris if he can fulfill the promise that Kiffin sees in him. Maybe a freshman like Chris Hawkins can benefit from spring ball and get some consideration. I also wouldn't completely rule out Ryan Henderson simply because he is a good enough athlete to make that kind of step up.
Gary (Los Angeles)
Going thru the roster, it appears that 25+ players will leave next year. Assuming that 25 of those departing had scholarships, what can the team do to fill those 25 slots? I understand that 20 recruits will be signed and walk-ons could receive scholarships; but, is there any way to get more value from the remaining scholarships? Thanks
Garry Paskwietz (5:27 PM)
Only 20 players can be added next year, no matter how many depart. It's just another one of the tough realities of the sanctions. The good news is that 20 scholarships is a lot of bodies and it will feel like a full recruiting class for the Trojans compared to the limits which have been in place for the past two years. I think that is going to be a real difference for USC in this next recruiting cycle because it will feel like more of a normal class.
Shane A (riverside)
who do you think wins the starting quarterback job, or is it not really all that wide open.
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
I actually think it is wide open. I think Wittek had a chance to put himself in a strong lead position in the Sun Bowl but that didn't happen. As a result, I think Kessler is right there and I wouldn't put anything past Max Browne at this point either.
Hi Garry. It seems most national news about USC is negative. Is USC the school people love to hate? I think the talent USC gained on signing day is significant and will lead to an improved win record - but will the coaching changes have a big impact on players and their success?
Garry Paskwietz (5:31 PM)
There is certainly a share of anti-USC sentiment that is probably left over from the Carroll era and when you combine that with the sanctions and a coach that brings as much controversy as any, it adds up to an interesting mix. I agree that the quality of talent that the Trojans signed was terrific and should be celebrated but there is still going to be a lot of talk about how the Trojans didn't fill the class and all the coaching turnover. I think the best response to any negative coverage is to win, that solves a lot.
MJ (Davis, CA)
I am concerned about our OL play. I know that CLK talked about going back to a more physical style of play, whci makes sense since we don't have an experienced starter at QB. However, do we have the right personnel for this line to be physically imposing and do well in the trenches? Name the players that you see as our starters on the offensive line?
Garry Paskwietz (5:34 PM)
I do think the talent of the players on the line could do it but it would involve some changes in philosophy from the coaches and we just don't know yet how that will play out. On the right side of the line, Graf and Martinez could certainly form a solid imposing duo. It remains to be seen who will be at center but if it's someone like Marcus Martin you have to imagine he would do well. Max Tuerk projects as the left guard at this point and he is a nasty one. Another guard to watch for the future is Jordan Simmons, people think of him as an old-school style physical guy. Aundrey Walker at left tackle would be a key, he has all the physical ability to be a dominant run blocker but it just hasn't been there yet on a consistent basis.
Aloha GarryI was always taught that the truth are in the eyes and the eyes don't lie. Coach P and coach O have that fire in there eyes, compared to Coach K. During the game, he looks like a little kid who got his toy taken away by a bully, just totally lost. These players "College" are still kids. They need a firm talking too when they do something wrong and a pat on the back when they do something right, and that's what coach P brought to the table. I'm starting to wonder if Haden was the right choice for USC. No way should Haden had let coach P go
Garry Paskwietz (5:36 PM)
Aloha Danny. Check the front page of WeAreSC today for the article I did on Polamalu with comments from former players, a high school coach and a parent. All of them just raved about Polamalu for the impact he had so it shows there are others who share your opinion.
If LK wants sc to go in a more physical direction then why get rid of KP?? Every article i have read so far says that he taught a physical style, not to mention his respect in the recruiting world which seems to be the only positive for LK in the past year?thanks, FIGHT ON
Garry Paskwietz (5:38 PM)
That is a strange part of the move. Haden and Kiffin have both talked about the plans to go back to a more physical style and, as you say, that would seem to play right into the strength of Polamalu as a coach. Without knowing how Kiffin plans to fill out the staff though it's hard to judge the moves, just need to wait and see how it plays out.
USC needs a good leader to be the face of Trojan football.What is up Lk still coaching and KP fired? We have a joke (LK) trying to lead the team. A quality person and leader KP is fired. Spring football with a skelton coaching staff lead by LK - What is Haden thinking?
Garry Paskwietz (5:41 PM)
The fans, boosters and former players have let Haden know their opinions about the state of USC football and right now he is backing Kiffin. It's one thing Kiffin can never claim, there may be a lot of turmoil about his performance from other areas but his boss has supported him throughout.
HLH (Menlo Park)
Do you CLK feels even mildly embarrassed about all the things that happened, including recruiting defections, this year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:44 PM)
It's hard to say. I think Kiffin is one of those people who have the ability to move forward, in the face of most anything. Somebody brought up this issue the other day with politicians and how they can just keep going on point no matter what. Kiffin is a lot like that.
Pietro (San Francisco)
Gary, looking at the 2013 schedule, I'm familiar with all opponents except Utah State. What do you know about them?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
They have been a very tough team lately with a run based offense but they just lost their coach to Wisconsin and it's hard to know how that transition will impact the team. Gary Andersen was a pretty good coach so my guess is the Aggies won't be at the top of their game when they face the Trojans so early in the season.
HeavyHitterTrojan (Stumbling out of the 901)
If SC has a similar season in 2013 as it had in 2012, do you think Lane Kiffin will be pumping gas in 2014?
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
If the Trojans have a similar season in 2013 then I do think a move would be made but I don't imagine that Lane Kiffin would be pumping gas the next year.
Travis (Orange County)
Letting go of Kennedy Polamalu may not be a popular decision, but to the extent his departure allows Kiffin to hire a bigtime OC who will call plays, shouldn't USC fans be excited?
Garry Paskwietz (5:50 PM)
On paper, yes, there is merit to what you're saying. That's one of the reasons why it's best to really wait to judge the moves until Kiffin has the replacements in place. But there is naturally going to be a negative reaction to losing such a popular figure.
Zach (Newport Beach)
Garry, Please tell me that there is some greater plan behind the strangely timed firings...please!!!
Garry Paskwietz (5:53 PM)
I guess we will know once the staff replacements are named. So far it looks like at least one coach (Bloomberg) has turned down the OC job while another (Cavanaugh) has turned down the OL job. There is still a linebacker spot to be filled too. These new coaches will go a long way toward shaping the immediate future of SC football and those stakes are high for Kiffin.
Pietro (San Francisco)
Kevon Seymour was a US Army All-American and highly recruited CB two years ago. Can he fill Nickell Robey's shoes? Did he redshirt last year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
He did not redshirt but there is a lot of excitement about his future. He played a lot in the first half of the season but then suffered an injury and was out. He's got size and terrific man coverage skills.
HeavyHitterTrojan (Stumbling out of the 901)
How is Kenny Bigelow lookin? This kid is a stud. Dude has an NFL body already. I love his attitude. I expect big things from him in 2013.
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
There's no other way to describe Kenny other than a big guy. He's one of those proverbial "first guy off the bus" guys. It's easy to imagine him making an early impact.
Travis (Orange County)
Over/under on wins for the 2013 edition of USC football?
Garry Paskwietz (5:57 PM)
Right now I would say 9, maybe 10. That could change as the season gets closer but this is a schedule with every opportunity to get some wins. The key will be the games against teams like Notre Dame, UCLA and Stanford.
cinemagraddad (los angeles)
Gary, thanks always for your patience and insight. How do you feel it looks when Coach Kiffin's access to the media seems so guarded these days, and what kind of confidence does that show from the administration that he's not allowed to represent the team and the school without fear of some gaffe?
Garry Paskwietz (5:59 PM)
There is definitely a train of thought from the athletic department for Lane to keep as much open access with the media as possible. I don't think it's a natural part of the way Lane would want to do things, as a football coach I get the sense he wants to give the most basic information possible and keep it at that. Nothing wrong with that as a coach but there is also a balance too.
c mac (lakewood, ca)
hey garry who do you think is faster lee or nelson
Garry Paskwietz (6:00 PM)
ha, great question. I'm sure both would make a great case for themselves. This might be an upset but for pure speed I might just pick Nelson.
josh shaw (los angeles)
you think coach gonna play me at cornerback or safety this year?
Garry Paskwietz (6:00 PM)
All indications are that safety is in the plans, at least for spring ball.
Garry Paskwietz (6:01 PM)
That's all the time we have for today. See you next week.